MAGAZINE ABOUT LIFE IN ISRAEL

Passover: Moshe the Kosher Kitty

in Life, Culture & Sports

kitty_700x395Dschinji is a foody. Or is there any other description for a dedicated Whiskas-aficionado on four paws? There you go. However, today we faced a problem that was new to me. Firstly, I had run out of cat food. All right. And secondly, it is Passover. You might wonder, gentle reader, how these two obviously disconnected events might be related. Truthfully, until an hour ago, I wouldn’t have seen any relation either. Yet, again, Israel proves to be a country full of surprises. You are intrigued? I happily include you in this story about the small and big, the shallow and the deep and how these story lines turned into the tale about a kosher kitty.

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As stated, I had run out of cat food. And my cat loves Whiskas. Therefore I went to the closest supermarket to tackle this problem straight away. However, even at the popular ‘AM to PM’ supermarket that is opened around the clock even on Shabbat, you couldn’t see any of the leavened products any more. Everything was hidden behind a plastic curtain. Also the shelf with a variety of dry food was marked with a sign stating something about Passover. The only visible cat food was brightly labelled ‘Kosher for Passover’. Which automatically translated into all the other cat food products NOT being kosher for Passover and hence, hidden and forbidden. Including Whiskas, just in case you were wondering.

My cat is not Jewish…

I, however was determined to buy my cat’s favourite nibble and bravely took a bag of Whiskas to the checkout. Little did I know that the curtain was not only for religious people, as I was brightly informed at the cashier. I further learned that Whiskas could not be sold since it doesn’t meet the kosher regulations for Passover. Kosher? Passover? Whiskas? Cat? As mentioned, the small and big, the shallow and the deep sometimes collide.  My cat is not Jewish. No doubt…or…am I wrong? ‘But my cat is not a Jew!’, I hear myself saying. My cat is not a Jew. I can’t believe the mad statements one is forced to make in this country.

or is he?

The security guy at the entrance looks at me with disbelief: ‘Of course your cat is Jewish! How can you dare to say your cat is NOT Jewish?’ he asks and concludes ‘His mother is Jewish therefore he is Jewish.’ To emphasise his words, he points at me. Well. I did not give birth to that cat. Therefore he might be Jewish indeed. His mother is this beast of a cat that recently attacked me. Is she Jewish? Are there signs? Does she sometimes pray in the solitude of a dusty backyard? While I was thinking about this, I felt my temper rising. Till I had enough.

Two worlds, one Meow

We are, after all, celebrating the holiday of liberation – and I am not allowed to buy Whiskas for my cat because he is Jewish? This is news to me and there is only so much I can put up with. Ten meters from here you can order pasta, pizza and even pork at an Italian restaurant. Opposite is a hummus place where people dig in with their leavened pitta bread. And those two guys over there have (forbidden) bottles of beer in their hands. I am so close to normal life and yet in a difference sphere – I am actually listening to people telling me that I can’t buy cat food because Dschinji is Jewish.

Moshe in a suit

The first thing I did at home was to rename my cat. He is now called Moshe. And tomorrow, I’ll buy him a black suit and a little black hat. Let’s go whole hog.

Excerpt from ‘Guten Morgen Tel Aviv’ by Katharina Höftmann (written in German)
English: Jennifer Bligh

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We wish all our readers Hag Sameach/Happy Passover and happy holidays with this humorous chapter from Katharina’s Höftmann’s book. Katharina is the editor of our German Zwischenzeilen

Middle East correspondent who is passionate about writing human interest stories. Published with: Spiegel Online, Bento, Welt, Welt am Sonntag, Zeit Online, Focus Online, Berliner Zeitung, dpa and others

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